Wednesday, July 16, 2014

ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES - POTENTIAL LIABILITY CLAIMS - A less harmful alternative to tobacco? We are not convinced.

     We are not yet convinced that the hot, new alternative to smoking that “old-fashioned” cigarette is, in fact, a “safer alternative”.  The truth is, the e-cigarette has not been around long enough for us to see what damage, if any, they will do to the consumer.  The unknown is unsettling with the new market of E-cigarettes, but what we do know is that the e-cigarettes’ main ingredients include e-liquids, which may contain toxins.  How could this affect the insurance industry? Well, Swiss Re, Ltd. issued a report today on its website discussing that if the e-cigarettes prove to be more damaging to health than we now know, then it is only logical that there will be liability claims filed for Electronic cigarettes similar to the previous tobacco claims, which led to the notorious tobacco litigation lawsuits.

     In light of this product’s infancy to the market, the few things that we do know about E-cigarettes is that regulation of the $3 billion market is still in process.  European Governments are shooting to ban all advertisements of them starting in mid-2016.  Also, in our government’s effort to regulate the new product and its unknown risks, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed in April to extend its oversight of the tobacco industry to include e- cigarettes.  Effectively placing age restrictions on the consumers of the e-cigarettes as well as enacting a ban on free samples and the presence of nicotine-addiction warnings on the product.

     The truth is, we just do not yet know of the repercussions, if any, there will be from the use of e-cigarettes to the consumer and the public close to the “second-hand smoke”.  We may be on the brink of what could be another massive litigation like the tobacco one, now with the newfangled and “less-harmful” e-cigarette.

     Stay tuned, we will keep you apprised of any foresight we may have into the potential liability claims because of the e-cigarette. 

By: Denise Santangelo, Esq.